Dysgenics – General

Genetic trends can decrease IQ, and as long as we want the fruit of technological civilization, we have to care about that. There are three main ways in which IQ could decrease:

I. Selection could favor lower IQ within a group. How fast?

II. Demographic changes- groups with lower IQ could be immigrating, or differences in birth rates could mean that smarter groups are declining relative to other groups.

III. Relaxed selection. It looks as if a lot of the variance in IQ is due to rare deleterious variants generated by mutation. Over the long run, selection has eliminated those deleterious mutations as fast as they were generated (mutation-selection balance). Over the last few generations, selection has weakened: a smaller fraction of babies are dying. Even though most of those babies in the past were dying of disease or starvation, not directly connected to baby IQ, babies in better genetic shape were more likely to survive. Smarter people seem to live longer because they’re in better genetic shape – ultimately because a huge fraction of the genome is expressed in the brain and influences intelligence. Being smarter means that on average you’re in better genetic shape, while being in better genetic shape – having lower genetic load – means that on average you’ll be smarter.

Weaker selection -> increasing genetic load -> lower IQ. But how fast?

All three of these processes must be happening today in the United States. I and III are probably happening everywhere.

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132 Responses to Dysgenics – General

  1. Ivan says:

    II is happening in Europe big time right now.

  2. Anonymous says:

    as long as we want the fruit of technological civilization

    What with I and II and III being the fruit of technological civilization, maybe we’d be better off questioning the premise.

    • Grom says:

      Together with questioning your premise that technological civilization caused or contributed significantly to I, II and III.

  3. j says:

    Jan te Nijenhuis from the University of Amsterdam calculates that Europeans lost 14 IQ points between 1884 and 2004, that is, 0.117 point/year. For better results, we should ask La Griffe to find solid points of reference and apply his statistical instruments, just as he did for the Ashkenazim.

    • j says:

      Hello, Mr La Griffe? Prodigy?

      • j says:

        I had an impulse to extrapolate just a moment ago, but I exercised restraint. Quote: We love to look at small regions in space or time and extrapolate our observations beyond their range of validity. Without a model, extrapolation is a dangerous enterprise. Extrapolation is a reflection of the ego, and the bigger the ego the bolder the claim.

    • pyrrhus says:

      That number is similar to the Charlton/Woodley hypothesis based on reaction times. My analysis of SAT scores shows loss of more than 1 IQ pt per decade, though the causes of that are disputed….

      • gcochran9 says:

        If you have data on a representative sample, show it. I don’t believe it. And since they’ve repeatedly rejiggered the SAT, how can you tell anything at all?

        • albatross says:

          Also, what fraction of kids take the SAT has changed a lot over time, which will swamp any subtle Flynn-effect-like secular trend.

    • gcochran9 says:

      If te Nijenhuis thinks that, he’s a moron.

  4. krakonos says:

    Yes, happing everywhere, falling even in relative terms.
    From the 6th place (OECD) in the late 90s I believe – pilot program. To just below OECD average now. The fall started with a first cohort born after the fall of communism (what a coincidence, freeing ourselves from communism has brought us interesting consequences).
    When it comes to selection, as I recall, according to a recent study, majority of male university students are not even in a relationship…

  5. AbelardLindsey says:

    Dysgenics is the number one problem faced by our society. Indeed, it is the only real problem we face. I think all three versions of it are occurring in the West. I think I and III are occurring much more slowly in the East Asian countries (China, Korea, Japan).

    On the other hand, bio-engineering will create some very powerful countermeasures against dysgenics in the next few decades: radical life extension and CRISPR-based genetic design.

    • I suspect that bio-engineering will rapidly swamp the other considerations. Not much at first, but given a hundred years, I think entirely.

      This creates a new problem, however. Who is minding the store? That matters, and it may be that dysgenic trends withing these hundred years influence who gets to call the shots.

      • AbelardLindsey says:

        This is indeed an issue. My preference is for the bio-engineering to be developed as quickly as possible. The “transhumanist” types who have their act together (I will be the first to admit that transhumanism is full of flakes and leftist) and who actually do the real work have a chance of making this happen over the next few decades. Our future depends upon their success.

      • Francis Galton says:

        That is the most important question, and the people calling the shots may very well favor traits that differ from those we most prize now.

        Two recent defenses of eugenics:
        1. https://philpapers.org/archive/ANODEF.pdf
        2. https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2015/05/eugenics-ready/

      • Frank says:

        This will make all of the other cases go away. And it will only take a small population to make it happen, because they would not be limited by population size anymore. And even more obvious is the potential AI situation, which would not be limited by growing humans. So, this discussion is futile.

  6. Fabrizio says:

    It seems as if even II is happening almost everywhere.

  7. KM32 says:

    The killer will be #3. In a collapse situation that pushed us back to a more Malthusian world, the smart could move swiftly ahead in two or three generations. But we could eventually get to a point where 90% or more of the population can’t survive childhood without some sort of medical intervention. Then we’d have about as much chance of surviving a societal collapse as seeds of domesticated wheat have in taking root in a wild meadow.

  8. RCB says:

    I suppose the effect of selection on an allele that decreases IQ can be decomposed into 2 parts.
    s1: the positive selective effect of being slightly dumber in today’s society, via higher fertility and earlier reproduction
    s2: all negative pleitropic, load-y effects.

    In the past, s1 was probably 0 or negative, so all such loci were near mutation-selection balance. When environment changed to favor low IQ recently, some loci were such that s1 > s2; these are currently under positive selection – the contributors to effect I. For the rest, they will evolve to a new, higher mutation-selection balance. That’s effect III.

    The speed of frequency change among the former is mostly determined by selection. The latter, though, can increase in frequency no faster than the rate of mutation. Normally I’d say the former ought to be more important re speed, but if the vast majority of loci are the latter, I suppose their sum total could imply fast evolution. Need to write down the formulas and try plugging in numbers, I guess.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Or, you could look at natural experiments. The key number is the fraction of children that survive. In the past [hunter-gatherer stage] , perhaps 60% of children made it to adulthood – obviously varies, but something like that. Was often worse in recent agricultural societies: about 50% in Prussia in 1750. While today the fraction surviving to adulthood in advanced countries is 99%.

      Now this does not mean that purifying selection has entirely ceased. Most conceptions do not make it to birth. Reproduction is not distributed evenly among those that do live to grow up. Still, purifying selection must be weaker than it was in the past.

      But consider some of the settler expansions. In colonial America, people had lots of kids and [ key] 90% of them survived, a much higher fraction than in Europe. Purifying selection was significantly relaxed – not as much as today, but a lot, and for longer [something like a couple centuries] than the current relaxation caused by civil engineering and scientific medicine.

      This pattern is particularly clear in Quebec, and there seem to be measurable genetic consequences.

      Has this long period of moderately relaxed selection resulted in significantly lower IQ among French Canadians? I don’t think it has.

      • NobodyExpectsThe... says:

        Is there any evidence of higher survival rates for children during the Roman empire?
        No scientific medicine, but lots of civil engineering for a few centuries all over the mediterranean basin.

        • gcochran9 says:

          probably lower survival with time: new diseases showed up. Smallpox, measles, bubonic plague.

        • I like where you are going with this. The places where this would work would probably be the smaller cities maybe a few places in North Africa(Their grain belt). Rome was most likely a big population sink for any but the highest classes. Harder to get records from there.

  9. dave chamberlin says:

    John Hawks had a great post on relaxed selection.http://johnhawks.net/weblog/topics/evolution/selection/climate-change-sheep-2009.html

    “Shrinking of Scottish sheep tied to global warming.” is an MSNBC news story John Hawks makes fun of. Once again global warming is the supposed culprit. When you stop culling the herd any farmer can tell you what happens. The sheep get smaller or the people get dumber.

  10. Michael Daxhammer says:

    Dr Cochran,

    just read your older interesting posts on the Hobbit on Flores. What you think about the new study from D. Argue et al. more or less excluding any ancestry of Homo Erectus and suggesting a distinct hominine lineage out of Africa? http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047248417300866

    • gcochran9 says:

      Probably they’re wrong.

      • dave chamberlin says:

        I would like to hear your thoughts on both Homo Floresiensis and Homo Naledi. It can wait for another post. Homo Floresiensis has some really archaic features, so the paper is correct in that regard. But the assumption there was no interbreeding when there could have been interbreeding, that is as you say probably wrong.

  11. AllenM says:

    LoL- the bottom of everything is going to more quickly die off in this current society:

    As the bottom grows the losers are now dying faster- in contrast to what everyone worries about- hear that comment about Hep C? Just imagine what else is festering in those cess pools of humanity that constitute our slums. And as healthcare degenerates into a giant racket, the poor will increasingly just take pills and die sooner.

    That is the interesting lesson of Angus Deaton, etc- poverty kills quick in a society that marginalizes people without much of a safety net. I would also note that in America, the highest mortality rates among the poor are in red states- and that trend is growing, not slowing.

    So yes, the intelligent who escape these pits of doom are going to be sharks on the make (like the poverty hustler talking about his kinfolk), so worrying about the dysgenic effects of a social safety net is a bit like worrying about a temporary situation. As soon as things get worse, the bottom starts dying like flies.

    Social darwinism is back in action, and by handing out pills instead of jobs, you get an economy based on the pills- and then look at the social welfare costs as they soar.

    Of course, if you are not worried about the future, then keep on going, it will be very interesting to watch as coal country just keeps on dying out. Economics is brutal, and without transfer payments and internal emigration it will just collapse.

    Everyone worrying about African overpopulation should just look at our own collapsing rural economies and then contemplate how horrific a collapse in Nigeria would be in terms of overshoot and fallout.

    Europe will have to resort to things considered unthinkable to survive those waves.

    • You have recited a narrative that seems plausible to many, but haven’t provided any evidence for it. Secondly, before you make any comments about Red States and Blue ones, look at the age, race, and ethnic breakdowns for those populations. Those will give you a clearer picture of what is actually happening.

      • AllenM says:

        here you go, with updated data.

        The differences are stunning versus the parent populations of America, all of them.
        See page 12.

        This should be sufficient evidence- and digging in further shows even more damage.

        I would posit that almost any population that is a remnant, or hardcore poor will have a boiling off effect removing smart and capable people, leaving a population that will degenerate and stagnate.

        The real question is if the Amish will suffer degeneration at some point, or if they will simply continue to boil off.

        To remove the racial component, I would notice that almost all source slums eventually undergo racial collapse when enough of the successful leave. One could argue that the late 1970s through the 1990s collapses in historic inner cities was a result of the end of redlining and freedom from legal restrictions for middle class and better minorities.

        • Frau Katze says:

          To get a feel for the places in question, Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart” is good.

          Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy” shows vividly how he boiled himself off their culture. The description of the culture is pretty discouraging. Actual remnants of clan culture remain, like the concept of “honor”.

        • j says:

          I read the Brookings postconference paper of AllenM above. The paper reveals that the American population is undergoing an EUGENIC process, that is, the unlettered are dying off at an accelerated rate. Astonishingly, despair deaths are becoming significant, even the righteous and clean Utah mormons are killing themselves. Something is going on, sure, please somebody tell me what is.

  12. JayMan says:

    Off topic: our friend Holly Dunsworth is at it again https://twitter.com/lemurlove2/status/855633737719181312

  13. Eric says:

    Were the multitudes of Germanic tribes swarming over the Roman Empire from the 4th through the 6th century the classic version of low IQ Somalis?

    • Jim says:

      Average IQ in Somalia today is 70 vs. 100 in modern Germany.

    • jason says:

      I’d say no. Probably quite the opposite.

      • Eric says:

        Then why did civilization regress as the Germanic tribes began dismembering the Roman empire? Shouldn’t there have been a seamless and peaceful transition from Romans to Germans? If the Germans had a slight IQ edge, why wasn’t there renewed progress?

        I don’t think Cochran’s analysis is quite right. He’s right to be concerned about a decline in IQ, but not because it may lead to less technological progress. Let’s make up a number and say that technological progress comes from those with IQs over 135. There’s no reason to think that the absolute number of people in this IQ range will diminish. As Lee Kuan Yew pointed out, the United States has access to the talent pool of the whole world, whereas other countries must rely on their native population. What American colleges did for Americans in the 1950s — finding the most gifted students and moving them into the top colleges — they’ll be doing with the whole world. Besides, technological progress in one country will eventually spread to other countries. My prediction is that progress will continue even if America’s IQ score drops. However, a lower average IQ score will mean that life become less satisfying and more unlivable for most of the population. We will waste more money on education, and be forced to hear more lectures about “privileged” children. The lack of technical progress is the least of my concerns.

        • Jim says:

          Runic writing appears in the Germanic world in the first decades of the Christian era and is soon being used over a large area. It was invented by Germans and although probably inspired by classical alphabets it was not brought to Germans by Romans but was an indigenous development.

          The Vikings around 1000 AD wrecked havoc on Europe but their culture was literate. Today Scandinavians have an IQ about 100. It seems unlikely that it increased to this from a level of say 70 in 1000 AD.

          • Fabrizio says:

            The Vikings around 1000 AD wrecked havoc on Europe but their culture was literate.
            I doubt the Viking culture could be described as literate when there wrecking havoc on other European societies. Unless I’m mistaken, the period when viking society can be considered literate was well after their days of wrecking havoc.

            • BCD says:

              We wreaked havoc on European nations during WWII, and 1940s America was most certainly literate. The two aren’t incompatible.

              • Frau Katze says:

                While I agree that Jim is simplifying things the comparison to the US (I assume you means the US) in WW II is terrible. If ever a just war existed it was WW II (started by the Germans, as they had done with WW I also).

                But Germans were also considered literate and they were. Their accomplishments by 1914 were most impressive.

                The people that started the wars were a different type, but not completely without support from the educated classes.

                Germany’s reputation never recovered after these wars (started for no particularly good reason at that).

                Smart people do stupid things.

              • syonredux says:

                “We wreaked havoc on European nations during WWII, and 1940s America was most certainly literate. The two aren’t incompatible.”

                Germans wreaked a staggering amount of havoc on Poland and the USSR during WW2, yet the Germans were, perhaps, the most cultured people in Europe….

            • Jim says:

              You are mistaken. Runic writing in Scandinavia goes back to at least 800 AD. Since runes were often written on highly perishable media they may well have existed there well before 800 AD.

              • Jim says:

                The Anglo-Saxons who invaded Britain in the 5th century were also literate.

                The development and spread of writing in Northern Europe suggests an average IQ well in excess of 70. This development occurred well outside the boundaries of the Roman Empire and long before any Christian missionaries arrived.

              • dearieme says:

                Really? What literature did they leave?

            • Jim says:

              Fourth century Goths were also literate.

              • j says:

                The Goths may have been very smart, good looking and fighters, but literate they were not. All we know about them is through Byzantine and Arab travelers. There is even debate about how they looked and their language.

              • Jim says:

                The Goths used runes as did most German people. Later a Gothic alphabet was developed from Greek writing.

              • Jim says:

                Who were the “Arab travelers” in the Roman Empire in the 4th to 6th century? The language of the Goths is quite well documented. The most notable source is Wulfilas translation of the New Testament from Greek into Gothic. There is no great mystery about the basic nature of Gothic which is an obvious Germanic language. See Bennett — An Introduction to the Gothic Language – MLA. Gothic was still being spoken in the Crimea around 1700 and we have some material on it from that time.

                There is no reason to believe that the physical type of the Gothic people was radically different from other Europeans.

              • Jim says:

                Like American Indians or Vikings, peoples ideas of the Goths seem to come from Hollywood movies. Like Vikings running around in cow-horn helmets.

              • Jim says:

                Wulfilas’ translation of the New Testament from Greek to Gothic was done about the middle of the 4th century.

              • Jim says:

                Here is a random listing of Gothic words compared to modern English –

                                         meins      my
                                         uns          us
                                         razda       race
                                         haban      have
                                         giban       give
                                         drigkan    drink
                                         fisks         fish
                                         slepan      sleep
                                         magan      may
                                         manna      man
                                         blindan     blind
                                         standan    stand
                                         twalif         twelve
                                         kniwa        knees
                                         maurthr     murder
                                         bloth          blood
              • j says:

                The Goths arrived to Europe with the Huns. They lost to the Huns in the Pontic/Crimea area, and they joined them in their incursions/infiltration into Europe. The first news of the Goths come from the Eastern (Greek) Roman Empire (Byzantium) and are very vague.

              • Jim says:

                The Wikipedia article on the Ostrogoths states that they “were probably literate in the 3rd century.” At that time they would have used the runic alphabet as the Gothic alphabet was not developed until the 4th century.

          • Jim says:

            The Kingdom of the Vandals and Alans was one of the most cultured places in the Latin west in the 5th century. The German Ricimir and the half-German Stilicho are examples of Germans who rose to very high positions in the late Western Roman Empire. In fact most of the generals in the Western Roman Army were Germans by the fifth century (also nearly all the regular soldiers).

            According to Joseph Tainter the standard of living in 6th century Italy under the barbarian kings was probably higher than it had been in the latter part of the Roman empire.

            The Vandals may have been brutal but their success and ability to establish a powerful and cultured kingdom in North Africa doesn’t suggest an average IQ as low as 70.

            Actually Germans were basically running the Western Roman Empire at the end. Also there is a tendency to exaggerate the discontinuity between the late Western Roman Empire and the succeeding barbarian kingdoms. In some ways it was “meet the new boss – same as the old boss”.

            • DataExplorer says:

              Did the Vandals produce any worthwhile art or architecture? The only Vandal material culture I have seen are coins, which look really crappy compared to the former coins of antiquity.

              • Jim says:

                Do you seriously believe that the average IQ of Germans in the 5th century was 70?

              • Jim says:

                By the way most coins from antiquity are counterfeits.

              • albatross says:

                How on Earth would we know about the average IQ in some ancient group? Even when you have some group that produced amazing works of genius, that tells us what the high end looked like, but not the average. How smart was the average shepherd? I gather it’s a massive pain in the ass to answer that question for present-day Somalia, let alone 5th century Germany.

            • dearieme says:

              “the standard of living in 6th century Italy under the barbarian kings was probably higher than it had been in the latter part of the Roman empire”: whenever I see a statement like that I wonder whether the standard of living in question is simply a matter of having a lower population. Because marginal farmland would be abandoned and so the smaller population would live better.

              Then again, the last time I saw the argument made it seemed to be based on taller skeletons. Maybe replacing Italians by Germans gives taller skeletons anyway.

              Anyway, whatever happened in Italy archaeologists seem to agree that the invasion by the Germans led to an enormous decline in living standards in Roman Britain.

              • Jim says:

                Cultivated land in the Western Roman Empire was taxed according to area not according to production. As a result marginal land often could not produce enough to pay the taxes and expenses on it and so was abandoned well before the end of the Western Roman Empire. In the West the total amount of cultivated land had declined greatly long before the end of the Western Roman Empire.

                Taxation under the barbarian kingdoms was lighter than under the Roman Empire. It’s quite possible that the area of cultivated land in Italy in the 6th century was greater than in the 5th.

          • Some Troll's Serious Discussion Alt says:

            There certainly was ‘renewed progress in post-Roman Europe. Much was surely lost in the dismemberment of the empire, but the idea that there was a dark age is a Renaissance era meme somewhere between vastly exaggerated and flatly wrong.

            I don’t know why you would expect a “seamless, peaceful” transition just because the incoming group has higher IQ. If someone kicks in my door and announces that the house is there now, I assure you that they will find the transition decidedly seam riddled and unpeaceful, even if they happen to be holding their mensa membership card at the time.

            • DataExplorer says:

              There is no doubt that the quality and quantity of material goods, art, and literature diminished during the course of the First Millennium AD. But the decline of the Roman Empire may be more to do with the dysgenic trend of the Roman people themselves rather than the IQ of the invaders. Durant said “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.”

              • Jim says:

                Certainly economic decline in the Western Roman Empire began well before large numbers of Germans had entered the Empire.

                One thing to note about the late Western Roman Empire – there wasn’t that much that was “Roman” about it.

  14. Rosenmops says:

    I know IQ is important. But other characteristics are also important. Having a high-trust, low-corruption society is at least as important as IQ. Is this anything to do with genetics? So far north west Europe and some places colonized by north west Europeans are the only places that have been able to create a high-trust, low-corruption society. Without such a society things can get quite unpleasant. China, which is said to have higher IQ on average than Europe, is extremely corrupt.

    Singapore and Hong Kong, which were once colonized by Britain, are less corrupt. So is Japan.

    • HBDchick has a very interesting theory that the forbidding of cousin marriage by the Roman Catholic Church, which was only obeyed in NW Europe for some reason, had effects on trust, local violence, and IQ. There is some evidence that the Teutonic tribes already leaned against cousin marriage. Maybe. I recommend looking up the Hajnal Line as well. Having a greater tolerance for how wide a net one casts for the definition of “member of my tribe, to whom I owe honesty and generosity” could easily have at least some genetic foundation.

    • Frau Katze says:

      In a total collapse, the immigrants in tight kin groups already would be at an advantage.

      How quickly could tribalism be returned to those currently without it?

      We have no idea what sort of collapse might occur or course, so we’re just guessing.

      • Slimboy Fat says:

        Urban vs. rural seems the most crucial divide in most collapse scenarios. And immigrants tend to be overwhelmingly citydwellers.

        • ohwilleke says:

          About 2% of native born Americans are employed in the farming industry. About 3.5 million immigrants are farm workers. There are about 45 million immigrants in the United States (including naturalized citizens). Immigrants are more than three times as likely to be farm workers as native born Americans.

      • vuzqk says:

        Is a collapse even possible with modern state capacity and globalization?

        I could see a global collapse for energy/ecological reasons, but it seems like foreign debt + modern institutional and military technology can keep a state running through a much greater degree of social decay than Roman times.

        • Frau Katze says:

          Maybe not. But if anything interfered with food being delivered to the population it could get bad fast. In ancient times most people were living on the land. In that respect we are much more vulnerable.

          Venezuela seems to be on the edge of collapse. There are serious food shortages, and certain diseases are making a comeback, but somehow it hasn’t collapsed completely. Still, it’s pretty unpleasant for the “have-nots.”

          See also the USSR after they broke the stability of the state and food and fuel in the cities ran short. Also, pretty unpleasant.

          The states that have no central government (like Somalia) likely have tribal group government (informal, but it works).

    • Cantman says:

      Is Japan honest or is it just very good at hiding its corruption? Look what happened when Olympus appointed a British CEO – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympus_scandal

      Japan certainly seems poorer than it “should” be given its population and other attributes.

    • bilejones says:

      High trust/low corruption is strongly correlated to IQ.
      Spart people understand what the best modes of behavior are and strive to practice and enforce them.
      That does seem to be falling apart amongst the political filth.

      My own rule of thumb is that if there isn’t a money jar farmstand within a few miles, you don’t want to live there. That’s after doing close on thirty years in London and New York.
      The basic observation is :
      Societies succeed because they’ve built up, usually over centuries, a widely accepted and practiced set of behaviors; social capital built up of predictable actions and attitudes and beliefs. The core of the culture.
      Immigrants; who do not have that ingrained culture are likely to be destructive of social capital and destructive to the host society. Despite the gibberish of the lunatic left most people recognize this and quite rightly reject the attempt to destroy their society in pursuit of a crazed political fantasy.

      • albatross says:

        I think high IQ and high trust has worked out in some societies (large chunks of the US and Europe and parts of Asia). But it’s not clear to me there’s any inherent link between the two. Neither China nor Russia is a high-trust society, but both countries do pretty well on average IQ and both can clearly sustain high-technology industry and cutting-edge science.

        Charles Murray’s excellent book Coming Apart is all about how the low-IQ contingent in the US has become increasingly a low-trust society, at the same time the high-IQ contingent has remained high-trust. But the low-IQ parts of US society in 1950 were mostly high-trust. (Though segregation by intelligence wasn’t as thorough back then.) That almost has to be cultural, and it’s surely possible to have the high-IQ society in the US transition to a low-trust one in a few decades, given the right societal changes.

        As a starting point on that: What fraction of people at the top of US society have cheated on high-stakes exams (SAT/ACT/AP/GRE/GMAT/LSAT/MCAT)? Or on schoolwork, in order to get top grades? I don’t know the answer, but I suspect it’s not all that small a fraction.

        Murray says the new upper class doesn’t preach what they practice. But when you don’t proclaim your values proudly, when you’re wishy-washy and won’t condemn anything except the outgroup (racism is lower-class and so despicable, but five kids by six dads is a legitimate cultural expression), you do a poor job of transmitting your values to your kids, and their friends, and the newcomers to your class (smart people from lower-class and immigrant backgrounds) don’t have an incentive to assimilate to your high-trust, high-functioning society.

  15. jason says:

    How fast before we have the technology to genetically improve intelligence? Perhaps in those already adult?

  16. Anon. says:

    Both Woodley and te Nijenhuis estimate the relaxed selection effect to be huge (>10 IQ points per century). Obviously intuitively this seems highly improbable. Are there others who have attempted this same estimation and landed on more reasonable numbers?

    • j says:

      There is a study of recruits into the Danish army. The results are depressing.

      • j says:

        There is a recent research article in Intelligence, saying that urban Chinese IQ deteriorated 0.3 points/decade.
        If average IQ is so labile, maybe old IQ studies of the Chinese (stating IQ=100) were not wrong. Simply, IQ of a population may be oscillating all the time, like the short/long skirt fashion.

  17. syonredux says:

    RE: Demographic Change,

    Some sobering facts to bear in mind:

    “Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices test was administered to a representative sample of 920 white, Mestizo and Native Mexican Indian children aged 7–10 years in Mexico. The mean IQs in relation to a British mean of 100 obtained from the 1979 British standardization sample and adjusted for the estimated subsequent increase were: 98·0 for whites, 94·3 for Mestizos and 83·3 for Native Mexican Indians.”


    The overwhelming bulk of Hispanic immigrants to the USA are Amerind (mean IQ:83.3) and Mestizo (mean IQ: 94.3). And by 2060, Hispanics are projected to form 28.6% of the population of the USA:

    “The share of the population that is Hispanic has been steadily increasing over the past half century. In 2014, Hispanics made up 17.3% of the total U.S. population, up from 3.5% in 1960. According to the latest projections from the U.S. Census Bureau (2014), the Hispanic share of the U.S. population is expected to reach 28.6% by 2060.”


    The future is looking rather grim….

    • syonredux says:

      Of course, Ron Unz is quite certain that Super-Flynn will work its voodoo on Hispanics in the USA and give them a mean IQ of 100…..

      • Peripatetic commenter says:

        I haven’t seen Unz make that claim. Can you point me to where he did?

        • syonredux says:

          Just read his stuff on IQ. He’s convinced of two things:

          1.IQ is extremely labile (cf his obsession with Irish IQ)
          2. The sub-100 I.Q. s of Mestizos and Amerinds are caused by environmental factors

          • gcochran9 says:
            1. There is no time trend in the Irish data.
            2. That would be nice, but the environment seems to be equally unfavorable everywhere and everywhen. Those groups do poorly in every country in Latin America, and everywhere in the US.

            Don’t you love Ron’s style of argumentation?

          • Toddy Cat says:

            What environmental factors are these supposed to be? Nutritionally, Mexico stacks up pretty well against Africa, or Southern Asia, or even China. For example, according to the Global Nutrition Report, Mexican women have significantly better prenatal health than Chinese women do. (Reference below). Obviously, there are plenty of people in Mexico who don’t get enough of the right kind of food, but overall, they are doing OK with regard to food and nutrition, especially in the last thirty years or so. Is there something that I’m missing?


    • ohwilleke says:

      Immigrants are not typical of the general population from which they are drawn. They are more fit than those who do not immigrate in almost every respect.

      • K.l. Asher says:

        I don’t know about that. I’ve seen plenty of obese and ignorant arrivals from south of the border. Scaling a wall or being a drug mule doesn’t strike me as someone who is fit and upwardly mobile. I’m cynical by nature though.

  18. Warren Notes says:

    That won’t happen, but it is important to get a better understanding of the Flynn Effect for measurement purposes. Flynn himself has given several explanations.

  19. Peripatetic commenter says:

    OT, but does this site misrepresent Cochran at all?


  20. Peripatetic commenter says:

    Is there a list of papers by Cochran et al on the pathogen theory of male homosexuality.

    • albatross says:

      How would the world look different if this theory (gay germ) were true? One thing we should see is times where some isolated group had no homosexuality, and within a few generations after establishing semi-regular contact, had relatively high homosexuality. If we saw evidence of that pattern in several different cases, including those where there wasn’t a huge change in local culture otherwise, I’d think it was pretty strong evidence for the hypothesis. Isolated tribes tend to be pretty susceptible to picking up new diseases, after all. That assumes that there are isolated populations that either never had it or lost it long ago.

      Could we find historical evidence of homosexuality suddenly going from all-but-unheard-of to very common in some society? If there are some conditions that make circulation of the germ easier, and others that make it harder, then we should see a pattern where some cultural/climate/whatever change leads to the rapid rise or fall of homosexuality. (If we saw much better sewers and safer water supplies and a generation later a much smaller fraction of the population being gay, that would be evidence. Or if we saw a big spike in the gay population a generation or two after a society started keeping sheep or something.

      Another place to look would be for biological adaptations to the gay germ. If there’s a population that’s been living with the gay germ for a long time, we should expect some kind of biological adaptations to resist the effect. (The germ will be in an arms race with the population w.r.t. infecting/resisting infection, but if homosexuality is an unintended consequence of the infection, then the human population will tend to evolve defenses to the effect, and the germ won’t evolve around them.)

      What else would be evidence either for or against the hypothesis that we could check?

      • Peripatetic commenter says:

        Yeah, those are good questions.

        I am simply trying to update a certain article that contains nothing about the pathogen theory and would like to refer to some of Cochran’s papers …

  21. akarlin says:

    I tried to quantify II in this map:

    Dysgenics through differential fertility rates amongst high/low IQ is prevalent throughout the entire world, though the effect is stronger in the industrialized (high IQ) nations. Of the countries that participated in PISA 200, only Indonesia might still have non-dysgenic fertility (if by the thinnest of margins).


    • dave chamberlin says:

      Keep up the good work Anatoly. The commentators at your blog link talk about the Roma in Bulgaria and Hungary. An incredible documentary on a Roma apartment building in Bulgaria is on youtube here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2LvcKeot-k. Unfortunately the version with english subtitles was taken off youtube because it was simply too disturbing. What is shows is described here http://www.itnsource.com/shotlist//RTV/2009/04/14/RTV660209/?s=sparks.

      The documentary is very powerful, it is pretty much is a worst case scenario of dysgenics. It needs to be preserved and it needs to have english subtitles added back to it. It should not be censored just because it tells a truth that some idealists do not agree with. This documentary boggles the mind. A nice apartment building was built for the Roma in 1988 in Bulgaria. They didn’t pay their rent, they didn’t pay their utility bills, everything was shut off so the Roma sold the metal from their own plumbing, balconies and windows. 2000 Roma amazingly still live in this building throwing their garbage and excrement out the spaces where their windows once were. The living conditions are below that of a third world slum, which you might of thought was impossible before you watched this documentary.

  22. Pingback: Bring Back Smoking | The Z Blog

  23. The Z Blog says:

    Maybe instead of the Flynn Effect, it is the Marlboro Effect.


  24. Cloudswrest says:

    Thezman blog has an interesting speculation that assumes tobacco is a nootropic, if not itn IQ then possibly in terms of mental focus and endurance. And the widespread use of tobacco from the 16th century to the 20th gave the West a mental edge, leading to the age of discovery, and the decline in tobacco use beginning it the latter part of the 20th century has made us stupid again. http://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=10128

    • MawBTS says:

      But….tobacco comes from the new world! The age of discovery was already afoot! And Native Americans were probably smoking it for thousands of years, where’s their IQ points?

      But I can’t argue with all the great evidence he cites. For example, smart people sometimes smoke cigarettes. Holy shit, case fucking closed.

      Although nicotine is definitely a nootropic (calling tobacco a nootropic is like calling a double latte a nootropic), it seems to have about the same effect as caffeine. I don’t believe a serious case can be made that coffee is responsible for Western civilization, and the same applies to tobacco.

      • ursiform says:

        Obviously Europeans stealing coffee from the Africans is why Africa is so depressed nowadays …

      • st says:

        Besides nicotine, tobacco contains vitamin B – lots of it; heck, Vitamin B was extracted from tobacco in the US once – before finding ways to synthesise it.
        But fresh tobacco also contains nicotinamide mononucleotide, which has been known to slow down or reverce the physiologic decline in ageing mice and eventually in humans (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28068222, https://www.dmarge.com/2016/07/anti-aging-drug-humans.html). Of course, smoking is a killer and the damage certainly outweights the benefits, but tobacco is a nootropic (unless we apply the therm “harmfull” in the definition of nootropic).

      • Toddy Cat says:

        But coffee and tobacco together – NOW we’re getting somewhere.

        • st says:

          Indeed we are. Did I mention nicotine is the strongest natural aromatase inhibitor as well? I mean the process that metabolises testosterone into estrogen in HS, nicotine inhibits it. That’s why that guy from the ad looks like he has grown balls, I suppose.
          (Nicotine Blocks Brain Estrogen Synthase (Aromatase),https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2904480/). It must have made european societies from 16th century on…um..ballsier, if not smarter, comparing to the crowd nowadays? But no worries, the reverse gives ginecomastia. No testosterone, less troubles. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aromatase). The problem is, the whole metabolic process is somehow changed in the smoking folks – the life-long aromatase inhibition would likely have created a negative feedback loop in terms of testosterone production in their bodies, which would rise rather obvious problems once they quit.

  25. dearieme says:

    I wonder whether the war against tobacco would have succeeded if men had still smoked pipes rather than those filthy cigarettes? I always thought cigarette-smoking was rather girly.

    • Toddy Cat says:

      Also, in my experience, people who smoked cigarettes also tended to smoke more than cigar or pipe smokers, and I mean A LOT more. There were some exceptions, of course, but most of the really heavy smokers I know smoke, or smoked, cigs.

  26. Erik the Red says:

    I’m sure you’ve already considered this, but I suppose it doesn’t hurt to mention that even if absolutely everyone has the same number of children, as long as intelligence is correlated with mean inter-generational length, well… two generations at 15 years each vs one generation at 30 years…

  27. albatross says:

    Is there a good estimate of the magnitude of III? I can think of a couple opposing forces in selection:

    a. Brain size and birth weight are both positively correlated with IQ, and both are plausibly causal. Modern medicine means that a big kid with a big head doesn’t die in the womb and take his mother with him–instead, she gets a C-section and both are fine.

    b. Nearsightedness is (I think) positively correlated with IQ, and glasses can correct it. I’m guessing that nearsightedness wasn’t too good for your fitness in hunter-gatherer land, though it was probably okay as a farmer or craftsman.

    There’s also just a huge amount of randomness in who dies without medical treatment. One bout of appendicitis or compound fracture is all it takes to kill you without modern medicine, and there’s probably not a whole lot going on there w.r.t. genes.

  28. sainchuck says:

    OT – vice clickbaited me today and I wanted to share> Gay by a stroke
    off course this guy probably just got a good excuse, but is this impossible?

    • gcochran9 says:

      Be interesting to see what part of his brain was damaged.

      Most likely homosexuality is generally caused by a form of brain damage, but almost always brain damage caused by some other mechanism, not a stroke.

      • Calvin X Hobbes says:

        This concerns your review of the Testosterone Rex book that somebody then posted at Amazon.

        “fanofthefab4” posted about a zillion responses to your review. My guess is that they’re all stupid, but I don’t have the energy to check.

  29. Y Yn says:

    I don’t believe this is a concern at all.

    High IQ people everywhere are wanted (as long as they are not politically opposed and open about it). Even in North Korea, they value their scientists and give them amenities equatable to the highest class of living relative to their society.

    High IQ individuals are able to move at-will anytime, anywhere due to their ability to produce more value than anyone else (especially nowadays with black-box algo engineers systematizing the brain into an intelligible abstraction of circuits, effectively rendering most faculties of the mind obsolete in specific domains).

    High IQ individuals, like any other individuals practice assortative mating and are not restricted to rural areas of long labour days anymore. High IQ individuals also have a longer time-horizon for planning and considerations of unseen risks, obstacles and challenges. They also collectively tend to mate less, and/or delay fornication the higher their IQ when it competes with their pursuit of novel experiences and acquisition of knowledge, and if they do mate – they conceive at much lower rates, and if they do, have a fecundity of sub-replacement levels (~1).

    High IQ individuals can do many things without worrying about low IQ groups. They live in gated communities and stratified-rich neighbourhoods which no low IQ group with no income could hope to come in and vandalize. They can also afford better security as a whole, and if not, they are the first to emigrate out of any disaster or precarious situation like a civil war. They can give biscuits to lower IQ people in the form of a rationalized ideologue or scapegoat to chew on but secretly run the puppet show behind the scenes via extracting money, land and assets from the masses at an unprecedented rate by keeping them busy, impoverished and dependent as to disable their mental faculties from engaging in thought, while also dosing them with lavish entertainment channels by controlling what they can see, learn and hear so people can get antennae of feed-forwarded information of preconceptions about the world, and if not, they can buy out or bribe their way or influence people to come to their side.

    Giving empty promises, using taxation schemes, lobbying for handouts, weaving through the legalise of documents that are nearly unreadable, constructing cult entities – the possibilities are endless. If they are in any danger, they can always use force or the threat of force to silently remove the ‘obstacles’ with their ingenuity in the development of mass-destruction weapons. However, before it ever even escalates to that point, the political game of puppets, conquer & division, misinformation, misrepresentation are employed at full effectiveness.

    In short, high IQ people never need to worry because they are of highest value to the state, they can manipulate lower IQ people in the same way an adult could convince a 5-year old to give away their candy as a Pavlov conditioning experiment, and use the art of sophistry, redirection and non-admittance of blame with highly ambiguous and open-ended statements to depart the scene if things get a little too ‘heated’ – with plenty of background assistants. (Macron[Excel Spreadsheet to Politician], Underage Sex Parties w/ Federal Investigators, … countless examples)

    They also can reduce the effectiveness of any form of taxation or burdens on them through nefarious methods of shelters, loopholes & connections if needed.

  30. Pingback: Three Mechanisms Helping to Create a Dumber World | al fin next level

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